The Supreme Court on Monday decided to hear arguments on whether a plea challenging the Sabarimala temple's restriction on women's entry should be refereed to a Constitution bench, reported The Hindu. The Kerala temple does not allow women between the age of 10 and 50 to enter its premises. The rule is aimed at keeping menstruating women away from the premises by citing the deity, Lord Ayyappa, is celibate.

The arguments by the senior lawyers will be heard by Justices Dipak Misra, C Nagappan and R Banumathi. Appearing for the temple authorities, senior lawyer KK Venugopal appealed to the apex court to "tread cautiously" on the matter. He said the court's verdict will have consequences and effects on traditions and practices in other religions as well.

“We are aware of that... we will pass an order detailing why we are compelled to refer [to a Constitution Bench]... Here is an issue which has never arisen before,” the Justice Mishra-led bench said. The court also chided the Kerala government for changing its stand on the issue. "You had changed your initial affidavit... have you changed your stand now again... is there going to be any consistency on your part?" the bench asked.

The Left Democratic Front government has recently supported the ban on women’s entry at the temple, even though it had filed an affidavit in 2008 supporting women in the dispute. The document was withdrawn in February 2016, reported mint. “In an earlier round of litigation, the LDF government was in favour of entry of women and now, it has decided to defend the temple’s decision,” said Kerala government counsel G Prakash.